UAB to honor Outstanding Women

Written by 

Six local women will be honored as the UAB Outstanding Women for 2011 during a ceremony Thursday, March 10 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the UAB Great Hall. RSVPs are due March 6 (acceptances only).

The UAB Women Center and Women’s Studies Program present the awards annually during Women’s History Month to honor female members of the UAB and Birmingham communities who have mentored or served other women, taken a courageous stance or overcome adversity.

Candidates for the award are nominated by Birmingham residents and selected by a committee of university women.

The 2011 winners are: The Becky Trigg Outstanding Woman Faculty Member Marisa B. Marques, M.D.; Outstanding Woman Staff Member Sherry Pigford; The Susan D. Marchase Outstanding Woman Administrator Award Claire Peel, Ph.D.; Outstanding Woman Graduate Student Michelle Cardel; Outstanding Woman Undergraduate Student Sherkeeca Peterson; and Outstanding Woman in the Community Meg McGlamery.

Marisa_Marques_webMarques, medical director of the UAB Hospital Transfusion Service, is being honored for her excellence as a mentor of numerous women medical students, residents and faculty and her willingness to take a courageous stance on blood use in the UAB Health System.

Marques has helped foreign medical graduate women get accepted into the Pathology Residency Program, some of which have gone on to successful pathology careers in the United States and abroad. Marques also is a faculty sponsor of the UAB American Medical Women’s Association, which enhances the professional lives of and provides role models for women medical students.

Marques stepped up four years ago with a bold plan to better serve patients in UAB Hospital and use university resources better. She recommended that the UAB Health System get its blood supply from one supplier instead of four, which enables the university to negotiate price reductions because of inventory-management efficiencies. She also realized that further price reductions might be possible if more UAB employees and the Birmingham community could donate to the blood supplier. This led to optimizing blood purchases and donations. She also enlisted the help of blood-safety and use-review consultants to demonstrate that transfusing less blood to patients improved patient safety by reducing side-effects, complications and other morbidities.

“It is an honor to receive the first Becky Trigg award for outstanding woman faculty member,” Marques says. “She was an outstanding teacher and colleague, both of which I strive to be. It is also humbling to receive this award because I know of many other women who deserve it more than me but do not have kind people to nominate them. I hope to help call attention to other women at UAB who do amazing things for others and are not recognized for their efforts. As a wife and a mother, I want to show other women that anyone can have a successful career and a fulfilling personal life.”

Marques considers the opportunity to mentor and help others a privilege.

“As a teacher and a physician at UAB, I interact with many people every day,” she says. “Every encounter is an opportunity to help each person to have a better day or a better future. I take these chances very seriously and try to make the best of each of them.”

Sherry_Pigford_webPigford, project analyst in the College of Arts and Sciences dean’s office, has been a project manager for the UAB ADVANCE program for the past three years. The goal of UAB ADVANCE is to improve visibility and recruitment of women in the departments of Natural Sciences & Mathematics and Social & Behavioral Sciences and the School of Engineering.

Pigford worked with the steering committee to identify barriers to success and to develop programs to help women overcome them. She also worked to engage new assistant professors in meaningful mentoring and networking opportunities.

“Sherry’s engaging and encouraging personal style has enabled her to become someone that other women call for advice and information,” says Jean Ann Linney, Ph.D., professor of psychology. “She then paves the way for the inquiring young woman to meet with a dean, department chair or other senior faculty member who could be helpful.”

Pigford also organized faculty enrichment activities as part of the ADVANCE grant, including Seminars for Success, department chair meetings, grant writing workshops and other events that enabled women on campus to network and collaborate.

“The women that I got to know through these activities became mentors to me, and I look to several of them for day-to-day advice,” Pigford says. “Now that the grant has ended and I have taken a new role in the College of Arts & Sciences, I have an amazing opportunity to work more closely with the department chairs and faculty in the art and science disciplines. In my new position, I hope to continue to increase awareness for the retention and promotion of the women faculty that I have worked with through the years.”

claire_peel_webPeel, interim chair in the Department of Communication Studies, was the principal investigator for the UAB ADVANCE program during her tenure as associate provost for Faculty Development and Affairs. In these dual roles, Peel led efforts that culminated in the creation of a mentoring program for junior and mid-career faculty and the development and implementation of family-friendly policies affecting promotion and tenure.

She also developed a Dual Career assistance program for faculty families and the provision of training for search committees, promotion and tenure review committees and department chairs in regard to gender biases that may disproportionately affect women faculty and staff.

“What makes Dr. Peel’s contributions so significant is that she did the heavy lifting on these projects with a shuttle diplomacy that involved the Office of the Provost, the Faculty Senate, deans, Human Resources and General Counsel,” says Linney. “The policies and programs that ultimately were adopted represent the state of the art in university programs and forward-thinking policies.”

Peel says receiving an award with Susan D. Marchase’s name on it is an honor.

“Sue was a trailblazer for women in administration, and she demonstrated traits that I aspire to,” Peel says. “She was highly respected, understood policies for multiple organizations and knew how to work with faculty and others to achieve success. Sue has been described as highly competent, honorable and trustworthy.”

Cardel is a doctoral student and graduate assistant in Nutrition Sciences who is studying to become a registered dietician. Cardel, a Puerto Rico native, has been active in recruiting post-docs and faculty to UAB from her home country. She has worked with a hospice service and inner-city children. She also regularly volunteers to provide and serve meals to the homeless in the Firehouse Shelter and raises money for the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation. She has made numerous mission trips to Honduras and Jamaica, and her work with inner-city children with the Urban Farms Seed to Plate project in Birmingham gave her a firsthand look at the serious and pervasive condition of malnutrition or poor nutrition in these communities.

“At Seed to Plate she jumped at the chance to help in the development of their curriculum and teach children about nutrition,” says David Allison, Ph.D., director of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center. “Since it is women who traditionally prepare meals in many cultures, she has worked hard to educate women and children about how to choose and prepare nutritious foods, even when selections are limited. She admits she is a nurturer, and this can be seen daily at UAB where she helps both female and male undergraduate and graduate students and her peer doctoral students with her experience and intelligence.”

Peterson has provided significant service to women through her volunteer work at Pathways, a United Way agency that serves homeless women and children. She has volunteered at the Southside and downtown locations for almost two years and often has worked double shifts when volunteer manpower was short. She has also been an afterschool tutor for Glen Iris After School Care and is a member of the UAB chapter of Habitat for Humanity, among many other outreach initiatives. At Pathways, Peterson implemented a ticket drive for the Sapphire Lecture so the women at Pathways could attend the event, which featured the author of the novel Precious, upon which the movie was based.

“Sherkecca thought it was so important for the women associated with Pathways to interact with Sapphire that she single-handedly held a drive for students who were not able to attend to donate their free tickets,” says Creston Lynch, assistant director of student programs. “As a result, all 40 of the women at Pathways were able to attend the program. This is a testament to her dedication and commitment to serving the interests of and providing assistance to women.”

McGlamery is the program director for the Birmingham Crisis Center’s Rape Response and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) programs. She helps survivors of sexual assault through their recovery. McGlamery does this through excellent management of the program, training and counseling volunteers and counseling and supporting survivors as they go through the legal and recovery process.

“Meg is a wonderful, caring and giving person,” says Molly Moran, program manager at the UAB Center for Neurodegeneration and Experimental Therapeutics. “She very rarely takes any time or breaks from her work at the Crisis Center. Her job requires her to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. She always is there to give a hug, listen or to provide support to a survivor, counselor or the nurses on staff. Meg does not like to be noticed, and because she stands in the shadows she rarely is. She really helps make the world a better place and has been instrumental in helping survivors of sexual assault through their recovery process.”